Steelers: So What’s the Deal with Heinz Field?


So you’ve probably seen a few headlines regarding Heinz Field lately. For example, The Associated Press recently reported, “The Pittsburgh Steelers’ football stadium will keep the name Heinz Field despite the company’s planned merger with Kraft Foods Group.” If you’re like me you raised an eyebrow and thought…

  • Wait, what? I didn’t realize that was in the cards.

Seems like the final decision on a matter you didn’t realize was up for discussion. We know the box score, let’s get a play by play.

Apparently, on Wednesday, March 25, the H.J. Heinz Company and Kraft Foods finished merger talks and agreed to become one company, which will be known as the Kraft Heinz Company.

The merger will be worth tens of billions of dollars including several billion dollars of investment from 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s own Berkshire Hathaway. The Kraft Heinz Company (German enough for ya?) will be the 5th largest food and beverage company in the world.

  • So who cares? Can I still get ketchup? Yes? Then what does it all mean Basil?

Well for Pittsburgh as a city and an economy it means good things at the moment. The company is expected to have dual headquarters here in Pittsburgh and at Kraft’s location in Chicago. It means sizable investments and resources for the legendary Heinz Company.

  • Yep, economy, gotcha. But Chicago? No way. Only Pittsburgh companies allowed to put their names on Pittsburgh stadiums. Consol, PNC, Heinz. That’s the way it is. I’m starting a petition for Primanti Bros Field.

I couldn’t agree more. Except, don’t worry. Everyone involved clearly has their priorities straight and made that the first order of business. The deal still has to be agreed upon by the each company’s board. It has to be approved by the proper regulatory agencies. A lot of logistics need to be worked out but one thing has been settled fairly quickly. Heinz Field will be Heinz Field.

  • Darn straight. We play in a stadium named for the finest of tomato based condiments not the cheapest of cheeses.

Here here. Rest assured. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Teresa F. Lindeman confirmed that during a conference call regarding the merger that Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs for Heinz, said, “It’ll remain Heinz Field.”

No offense to Chicago or Kraft mind you. Chicago is a fairly blue collar town as well and Kraft started with humble roots from a determined and innovative local who revolutionized the food industry. In some ways like Pittsburgh and Heinz, but not Pittsburgh or Heinz.

  • One Super Bowl is not enough. I’m not saying I’m superstitious but I wear my black socks on game day and they were white when I bought’em, so you can keep that mojo up in the midwest. And so help me if I catch one Steeler doing a Super Bowl shuffle I’m going to lose it. Just lose it.

I hear you.  I think Heinz and Kraft hear you as well.

Supposedly the Heinz name will stick to the stadium because when it was constructed in 2001 the Heinz Company signed a naming rights deal for 20 years and price tag of 57 million dollars. So it’s at least 6 more years of Heinz Field and I’m suspecting more.

I doubt with the lawyers you could afford with a company worth nearly 50 billion dollars you couldn’t find a way around that contract if you wanted to. They don’t want to though. No need to ruffle feathers.

From a business standpoint there’s really no sense in causing friction with your new partner. Companies don’t get that big and stick around that long without knowing a thing or two about PR. Not to mention, although Heinz has less revenue than Kraft, Heinz is trending up, while Kraft is going in the other direction. Hence equal space on the marquee.

Like Heinz, Pittsburgh is trending up as well. Try to find a list of best cities that doesn’t have Pittsburgh near the top. So don’t fret, this is not a prelude to a Krafty stadium theft. It’s Heinz finding opportunity in Kraft’s temporary dip and utilizing it’s own momentum and base in a thriving city with a tremendous workforce to reach a new rung.

Football-wise, I suspect we’ll be watching games at Heinz Field for a long, long time. All the way to 7.

Next: Tomlin Targets OLBs in Draft

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